Limerick for Engineering Showcase – Finn Quigley, Newport and Colin Seymour, Killaloe at the Limerick for Engineering Showcase at the South Court Hotel, Limerick. Picture Sean Curtin FusionShooters.
Everything from Robots to Microscopes, Smart Glasses to Lightening dresses captivated the record crowd of Secondary school students, parents, teachers and engineering enthusiasts who came to the Limerick for Engineering Showcase on Tuesday evening the 19th of April.
Over 30 of the region’s leading edge companies along with educational institutions, Government, local agencies and Engineers Ireland came together for the second year in a row to showcase engineering career opportunities in the Mid-West region. Fantastic engineering opportunities already exist here, and this is forecasted to grow considerably leading to a real requirement for engineers in the future.
Students were given the opportunity to meet with industry professionals who provided information about their chosen fields and demonstrated some interesting technologies they work with. Featured at the event was a state of the art High Magnification 2D microscope with 3D profiling capability, a New Technology Demo Cell which merges various technologies to develop high tech manufacturing solutions, a spectacular 900 LED high fashion interactive Lightning Dress that reacts to its environment and Recon Jet smart Eyewear for Sport that delivers metrics, maps and other data on a high-contrast display positioned just below the athlete’s right eye.
Also on the night current students, graduates and academics, from Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB), Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and University of Limerick (UL) were on hand to offer guidance to students on courses that are available locally which lead to fantastic engineering career opportunities.
The atmosphere was electric with students and parents enthralled with the technology that was on view and an opportunity to win numerous prizes including iPads and iWatches for themselves along with Intel Galileo demo kits for their schools added to the excitement on the night.
Speaking at the event, Denis Doyle, Vice-President and General Manager, Ireland Manufacturing, Analog Devices said “it’s been an incredible evening! The enthusiasm we have seen here for engineering is very promising, if the interest from the students who came here tonight is anything to go by, engineering in the Midwest will have an extremely positive future.
I see this event being like “Young Scientist in reverse” where the company engineers enthusiastically demonstrate their work and the students act as judges. The primary aim of this Showcase was to bring engineering to life, to give students the opportunity meet with leading edge companies to see first-hand the exciting and rewarding engineering careers that are available here in the Mid-West and this was certainly achieved here tonight.”
This event also aimed to address both current and future skill shortages given that Engineers Ireland has signaled an acute shortage of engineers in the future and an“urgent need to promote careers in engineering amongst students entering third-level courses as demand outstrips supply”. Members of this Limerick for Engineering group have calculated that in their organizations alone there are currently 229 open engineering positions at the moment and they will have a requirement for 1046 within the next 5 years.
Another concern addressed by this event is the continuing low representation of women in the engineering profession. Events like this can create an awareness of the exciting opportunities that are opened up by engineering, giving students an opportunity to meet with female engineers and role models and encourage more girls to choose engineering as a career.
Highlighting the importance of this type of initiative, Niall O Callaghan Business & Relationship Manager, Mid-West Region, IDA stated “This Showcase is a fantastic opportunity for secondary school students, parents and teachers to come along and meet local companies and colleges to find out about engineering careers and courses in the Mid-West. Getting up close with real demos and listening to industry professionals from a diverse range of engineering disciplines communicates the many potential career options for engineers.
He continued on to say “Limerick for Engineering is a representation of what’s great about doing business in the Mid-West. The close collaboration between industry, UL, LIT and LCETB, to fulfil the large number of engineering vacancies currently available continues to be an overwhelming success.”
Commenting on the event from the US, Barry O’Sullivan Johnson & Johnson, Vision Care Ireland and Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce, Mid-West Region said that “this initiative is a credit to the region and the great work being done together will give our next generation choices that will encourage them to stay locally and build business and employment here”.